Student Resources

Preparing Your Abstract

All presenters are required to submit an abstract with their poster submission. You are encouraged to have your faculty mentor review your abstract before submitting. Abstracts will be included in the conference booklet on the CURE website.

What is an abstract?

An abstract is a one-paragraph summary of your research project. Abstracts provide readers with the essential points of your research/project and should leave them eager to learn more.

Abstracts from the sciences and humanities include the following:

  • Purpose
  • Statement of the research problem
  • Methods
  • Conclusions
  • Significance

Creative projects from visual arts and performing arts typically include the following:

  • Purpose
  • A statement addressing who or what influenced your work or your inspiration for the work
  • Creative methods or techniques
  • Your contributions
  • Reflective Statement

Abstract Tips

  • Clear, concise and brief (no more than 300 words)
  • Avoid jargon
  • References are not required

Poster Templates

Academic Research Templates

Poster template A
Poster template B
Poster template C
Poster template D

Community Engagement Showcase Templates

Poster template E
Poster template F

Poster Design and Printing Guide

Choose a Poster Template

  • Choose one of our available CURE poster templates to create your poster.
  • Type your poster content into a Word document, proofread it, and then copy and paste your content into the poster template.

Poster Template Elements

  • Our templates use the following poster structure: introduction research goal methods – figures and results conclusion – acknowledgments  references. The text in the headers can be changed to suit your project.
  • You are encouraged to discuss best practices for research posters specific to your field of
    study with your faculty mentor.
  • The poster template size is set to 32 inches high x 40 inches wide. Please do not alter.
  • The NIU logo is not editable.

Poster Tips


  • Choose legible fonts (e.g., Times New Roman, Arial, Garamond).
  • Use bold or italics to emphasize a point. Underlined words can be more difficult to read.


  • Contrast is important. Use dark font colors on light backgrounds and light font colors on dark backgrounds (easiest to read).

Communicating Your Message

  • Your poster tells a story and conveys your takeaway message, but avoid overcrowding your poster with content.
  • Use of bullets and short phrases helps keep your content concise and easy to follow.
  • Use graphics (i.e., figures, photos, graphs, charts) to convey most information.
  • Avoid using images directly from the web. The quality may be poor and may not print clearly.
  • Ethically use copyrighted materials or find openly licensed content. Contact your subject specialist
    librarian if you have questions or need help finding free-to-use images.

View the Judge's Rubric

Read the judge's rubric (DOCX) to learn more about the criteria used to rate your poster presentation.

  • Design your poster to answer the rubric.

Save and Submit the Poster

  • Save as a PDF.
  • Select "export" from the PowerPoint drop-down menu.
  • File must be no larger than 10MB in size.
  • File name should include your last name and keyword/s from the poster title (e.g., Reilly_Peer Modeling).

Submit Your Poster

  • Submit your poster when it is final and has been proofread and reviewed by your faculty mentor.
    We will not reprint a revised version of your poster.
  • Submit your poster through Symposium using the CURE Poster Submission Form.

Poster Printing

  • Posters submitted in advance of deadline, will be printed for you and displayed in your assigned area on the day of CURE.
  • Printing will be your responsibility if your poster is not received by the deadline.



CURE Workshop Series

If you are looking to learn more about the Conference on Undergraduate Research and Engagement, designing an academic poster and communicating research are welcome to join us for the following CURE workshop sessions. All sessions will be held in the Lincoln Room on the second floor of the Holmes Student Center.

Additional Resources

Contact Us

Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning
Holmes Student Center 264-266
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